Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chili - Come An' GIT IT!!

Dudes, I made enough chili to feed ALL y'all. But my church friends ate most of it already. Sorry.

Tonight, we had an awesome Chili Social at my house. Most of our small groups (or home groups) meet on Tuesday nights - they alternate weeks. Mine is like the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month. Another one meets on the 2nd and 4th. So on those rare 5th Tuesdays in a month, ain't nothin' goin' on (I like apostrophes). I heard someone saying that on Sunday and said, "Since no one has small group, we should all come to my house for dinner." Robert said, "Are you serious?" I thought for a second and said, "Sure," knowing full well that my house was in a state of chaos. So it was officially announced at church. Very last minute.

So as I cooked enough chili to feed my whole neighborhood, I thought, hmmm...I might be making just enough or I might be eating chili for the next three months. You never know how many people will show up to these things.

As it turns out, I think we had around 15 adults and about 15 kids? Something like that. They were all moving around too much to count. My mom joined us, too. Oh, and one neighbor kid who heard us talking about it in the car after school. He fit right in and had a blast! It was so cool.

Tonight's dinner made me SOOO happy! I grew up in a church that had lots of issues. But the one thing it did right was Family. All of our extended relatives lived in other parts of the country. So my childhood church WAS our family. They used to have these pot-luck dinners after church. Everyone would bring their best comfort food and I'd be in heaven with all the differing forms of Jell-O mixed with various things like marshmallows, pecans, pineapples. Everyone would eat and us kids would run around wreaking all sorts of havoc. The adults would sit around talking - which of course seemed all sorts of boring to me at the time.

Tonight, we all got our chili, cheese, chips and other foods that didn't start with the "ch" sound. Some sat at the table. Some sat in the living room watching American Idol. Some stood. The kids were running around upstairs, downstairs, chasing each other with light sabers, swords, and pillows.

It felt like home. Not just because it was IN my home. But because this is my "forever church", as someone put it tonight. This is my family. These are my thick & thin. These are the people God sent me after all my prayers while moving down here. I stood around watching them thinking, oh yah. God sent me the best of his people.

It totally felt like home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why God And My Handy Man Totally ROCK

Subtitle: Things I've Done That Will Make You Feel Much Better About Yourself

A couple of weeks ago, I started having water pressure problems in my house. They would come and go. But it got consistently worse. Right around the time I noticed the water pressure issues, I was putting top soil down on my lawn, patching up bald spots or filling in low lying places hidden in the grass.

A couple of days after putting down the top soil, I noticed that a large patch always seemed damp while the rest of the patched spots were lighter colored and very dry. Hmmm. I noticed a large strip of yard between my house and my neighbor's that was constantly wet. Ugh.

I gave it a week to fix itself. If you ignore it and don't talk about it, it will go away. Yes. This theory has rarely worked for me. So by yesterday, I was pretty convinced I was looking at a broken pipe somewhere. Possibly in my house, maybe next to it, maybe the sprinkler system. I didn't know. But I could see big dollar signs. And it was making me sick.

Last night I said, "Please God. Let it be something small. Let it be something we can handle quickly without huge drama and huge cost!" But even as I prayed this, I thought, this may be one of those life lessons God needs me to learn. Suck it up, little girl. You're a grown up now. Sometimes you have to pay for grown up repairs. Guh.

This morning, I finally called my friend Wyatt. He's been my "Bug Guy" and handy man since we moved here. He and his wife and daughters are awesome friends and I adore them on many levels. They were some of the first close friends I made at my church. But mostly because Wyatt will come take care of ants, termites, field mice, etc. Blyeck! And he also fixes stuff without charging me an arm and a leg. He doesn't mind when I chick out on things (like trying the ignore-it-and-it'll-go-away thing). He doesn't judge. He just shows up and fixes whatever is wrong. And since the ex took off, Wyatt and his awesome wife Shari have kind of kept an unspoken eye on me. They'd probably deny that but I know they have.

Anyway, I called and said, ok, how much do you know about plumbing? Or do you have a plumber you work with that you trust? I told him what was going on. He made a promise to show up today. This is a guy I called last minute, with a full slate. And he insisted he'd check it today. Because - he reasoned - if it really IS a broken pipe that's leaking, I am wasting lots of money that I don't have. See? He's very protective of his single-mom, laid-off friends.

Wyatt and one of his guys showed up this afternoon with a pick axe and shovel. I felt nauseated. Pictures of my entire yard dug up with hundreds of broken pipes exposed raced through my head. He checked my sprinklers and pretty quickly ruled out that the sprinkler pipes were burst. Yay! He checked the outside faucet and found huge pressure. He checked the inside faucets and found low pressure. "When's the last time you changed your water filter?" Um...says me...I didn't really want to tell him that I was basically 2 months past the changing time. I'm never that bad! So he pulls out my water filter. It was BROWN. Might mean nothing to you if you don't have one. But I've never seen it like that. So basically, my laziness caused my water filter to get so clogged, water couldn't get into the house! Fortunately, I had INTENDED to change the filter. This intention meant I had actually purchased the filter back in January when it should have been changed. So I had the filter. And Wyatt is tall and can change it very easily. As opposed to my Hobbit-on-a-step-stool routine. So bippity-boo and I have a clean filter.

Did I feel totally stupid? Absolutely. Did I care? NO. You know why? Because I was figuring I'd be using somewhere upwards of $10K to have my entire sprinkler system replaced! If not, I knew I'd be throwing a couple of thousand at whatever the problem was. But I already had the 20-something dollar filter on hand. And Wyatt wouldn't take any payment. As he put it, he had to drive this way anyway.

So God rocks because he TOTALLY came through on my "please make it something small" prayer. I hadn't even asked for FREE! And he sent my awesome friend Wyatt to show me how easy the fix was and not make me feel stupid about it.

I have to figure out something yummy to make for Wyatt & Shari.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Randomosity And Such

I was relating the dentist story to my neighbor friends yesterday. They made me feel better about Pokemon Boy's behavior. I had really been chalking that whole thing up (or most of it) to his anxiety disorder. Their daughter is a year older than him and just had her first visit last year. Her visit went very similar to ours. Although, they say it took them one and a half hours to get her xrays!!! Pokemon Boy's xrays took a little while but nowhere NEAR that! Probably not even 10 minutes. They also said she was fearful and tearful about the cleaning - and uncooperative. And she has no anxiety issues that I'm aware of.

Then I spoke to one of my sisters today and related the story to her. She has such an issue with dental procedures (shots to the mouth, in particular - *shudder*), she takes meds in order to go. This horrible reaction actually started due to an abusive dental assistant.

Quite a few people have related their fear and horror about dentists. And it makes me feel better in relation to Pokemon Boy. But it makes me SO sad. Because my former Boston dentist ROCKED. He was SO in tune to people's fears regarding the dentist, he was exactly how ALL dentists should be. It just stinks because there are SO many awesome dentists. But since we only go every 6 months, if you get a bad one, you feel kind of stuck. It's such a hard thing to switch. Most people will just put up with it since it's basically 2 to 4 days out of your year. But you shouldn't. If you get a lemon, try another one. THEY have to transfer your records. All you have to do is tell them where. It's worth switching if you have a bad experience.

So today was Pokemon Boy's first day back to school after his spring break. And I got a call from his teacher. Oh boy, thought I. BUT...she was calling to tell me that he go a 100 on his TAKS reading test. For those of you like me that have no clue what that is - it's standardized testing that all the kids take in 3rd, 4th & 5th grades in our elementary schools. It's one of those all-day testing things. Very scary for 3rd graders as it's their first time taking an all-day test. He was very nervous. But he came home feeling like he probably did ok. That was a few weeks ago. So this is very cool. I'm so proud of him. And I'm so thankful that he got this nice success right at this particular moment.

So YAY Pokemon Boy!!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Anxiety Disorders and The Dentist

Pokemon Boy had his first real dentist appointment this past week. Yes, he's eight. Yes, most parents bring their kids to the dentist way before they are eight. I never went until I was 13 and had very few cavities. I made the assumption that Pokemon Boy would have my teeth. Plus, he's such a non-sugar eating kid. Plus, I'm lazy. Throw stones all you perfect people.

Anyway, it was our first visit to this dentist. So you have to fill out all the forms and check all the boxes. I can usually just check all the N/A boxes for all of the diseases or disorders. For Pokemon Boy, I had to check the box that indicated he had a "mental disorder". Man, I hate those lists. "Mental disorder" is not what I would put. But they didn't label it any nicer. I'd prefer neurological issues or something. Ah well, I can't always get the euphemisms I'd like. So I had to check the box that came close enough. Guh. They left a place to indicate how I thought my child would react to treatment. I put something like, "He will be scared and nervous but I think he will cooperate."

Fortunately, this place is a kids' dentist office. They deal only with kids. And therefore, they have dealt with it all. Almost everyone in there is amazingly patient and has mad skillz with the kids. The guy who took Pokemon Boy's x-rays was amazing. I could hear Pokemon Boy asking rather frantically, "What IS that? Is it going to hurt?!" and such. He patiently explained all of the equipment and got the x-rays.

When it was time to get him into the reclining chair, he wouldn't have any of it. He asked, "Is that so I can't get up? Will it keep me there?!" Wow. There are times his anxiety disorder really surprises me. I can never predict where his mind will go and what will freak him out. The reclining chair really freaked him out. They finally talked him into the chair (with quite a few mom-glares from me). At the first visit, it's just x-rays and a cleaning. So they showed him the electric toothbrush and the suction thing. He wouldn't let them use the suction thing. The way it's set up, there is no spit sink next to the chair. So they had to accommodate him, letting him get up and walk to a sink to spit. It didn't scare him. It just "didn't feel good." *sigh* They got his teeth counted, examined and cleaned. Unfortunately, the tooth cleaning woman should not be working with kids (in my opinion). At one point, Pokemon Boy was really upset and didn't want her to put anything in his mouth. He was starting to cry and I was pulled into another room for a review of his x-rays so I couldn't really help. Well, I guess she said to him, "You are crying like a baby. You're a big boy and shouldn't cry." Yes. Very good. By all means, eight year olds LOVE being called a baby. Right up there with being accused of liking the opposite sex. He was VERY upset by her comment. I can see where she might have been going with that comment but it was a poor choice for a kid clearly very freaked out.

So during the whole visit, he questioned everything. Which is pretty normal for an eight year old's first dentist visit. But he wouldn't let them do anything until he was ok with their answers. He pushed their hands away a few times when he was freaked out. All in all, it was less than ideal. But it could have been way worse.

To top it all off, my hopes of no cavities were stupid. He may not eat tons of candy or cake but he drinks juice and lemonade almost exclusively. He'll drink water periodically. But I am an idiot for not paying attention to that. Sugared drinks of any kind sit on the teeth. Even if you brush twice a day, all of that sugar just sits on your teeth for most of the day. YARGH. Anyway, he has to have major work done on three molars (baby teeth, fortunately). One has to be pulled.

So based on his reactions in the office for just x-rays and cleaning, they can't do the work in the office. They are going to put him under general anesthesia to do it all. It kills me. Mostly because all of this was easily avoidable if I had just been diligent about his brushing and flossing. Oh well.

Pokemon Boy is very anxious about the procedure. He's asking me how they'll put him to sleep and the truth is, I have no idea. He is really scared of needles even though he has always done well with them. The thought of the gas mask scares him even though he's had it three times before and did fine. It's so much easier to do surgeries or major procedures on little kids. Because they don't know what to expect. They don't invent scenarios in their heads. And they don't really retain the memories of it.

So while Pokemon Boy's anxiety disorder doesn't horribly affect his day to day life, it's situations like this where it rears its head. And I feel so helpless. And while we're being honest here, I just felt so frustrated in the dentist's office. I should have tried to prepare him for what was coming. But I didn't - opting for not making him worry about what was coming. I never know what to do.

That one impatient lady really irked me. I don't really blame her. They were way behind because some girl's procedures went way longer than expected. So she really didn't have the time to coddle some upset kid that she thought of as too old to freak out. I understand that. But it was just the kind of thing that puts your stomach in knots as the mom. There's an element of wanting to rip her head off. There's an element of embarrassment because you know your kid is under the eye of other people who don't understand his issues. There's an element of heart ache that your kid is so stressed out over something that may now become one of those totally feared and hated things. I have never had issues with going to the dentist. And I think some people work themselves into a big tizzy over it and turn it into a big deal unnecessarily. I hope he can work past this and not have it be a big deal every time.

Thankfully Pokemon Boy believes in God and prayer. He has asked me to pray about his teeth every night. Mostly for peace about the upcoming procedure. Which is a month away. So we're praying about it. And I'm actually asking God to fix his teeth. I have no idea where God stands on that but it can't hurt to ask. Mostly I ask God to make Pokemon Boy ok with the whole concept.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In The Waiting Room With Lil'Bro

So today, the boys visited their play therapist. Pokemon Boy asked a week ago to see him after some anger issues. Things are ok with him. But while he was in with the play therapist, Lil'Bro was with me in the waiting room. The play therapist let him select some toys to bring out into the waiting room with us. Here are some snippets from our 30 minute wait:

Lil'Bro pretends to shoot me with a toy cap gun. I feign injury and collapse into a chair.
Lil'Bro: "Don't worry mom. It's a pretend gun."
"Are you sure?"

Opens side door for caps. "See? No batteries!"

Lil'Bro walks up handing me a toy.
LB: "Mom, can you help me open these hand cups?"

Aside from the cap gun and hand cuffs, Lil'Bro had also selected a plastic sword. I had no sword. But I had my iPod Touch. And I had downloaded the Lightsaber application. All it does is make light saber sounds from the Star Wars movies as you move your iPod around. It's simple, silly and it totally ROCKS. Lil'Bro was thrilled to have a 15 minute light saber/sword fight with his mom.

The waiting room has some duplo blocks and a Mr. Potato-Head/Darth Vadar set. Lil'Bro got Mr. Potato-Head all decked out and proceeded to talk real deep as he walked Mr. Potato-Head around.
LB: "I am DARTH TATER!" [which is what it's really called but it's hysterical coming out of a five year old in a "deep" voice]

Those were just some highlights of 30 minutes in a waiting room with my five year old.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A St. Patty's Day Rant

Brought to you by the woman who was nearly run off the road about 3 times tonight on her way home from having dinner with a friend.

Dear Idiots Who Are Not Sitting In Jail Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter,

You are idiots. Yes, I realize that as a God-girl I'm supposed to be forgiving. But for the moment, you are idiots.

Please explain to me where in the story of St Patrick's abduction to Ireland, escape back to Britain, fifteen years of religious training, return to Ireland and subsequent missionary work with Christians in Ireland, where is the part about where you're supposed to go drink yourself into a stupor and then get behind the wheel to wreak havoc on the open road? I must have missed that part in my readings. Or on the History channel.

To the chick in the baby blue Jaguar that nearly took out the right side of my car, I hope you didn't eventually kill anyone else. Happy St Patrick's day! I'm sure he's up there going, "Great job, lass!"

To the car with the Cheech and Chong smoke coming out of the sun roof that nearly took out the LEFT side of my car, then nearly careened into the guard rail, somehow recovered control only to ride about 6 inches off the back bumper of that silver car flashing your lights for about 2 miles, right ON! You have captured the spirit of all of St Patrick's hard work.

To the red 5 door car that nearly took out my left front headlight and then sped through stop signs into my own neighborhood, I hope you are appreciating the fact that you're now puking in your own toilet and not one in the county jail.

Hoist a pint. I get it. I did it. But dang, people, killing others with your stupidity is NOT part of this holiday.


The Sober Chick Who Only Made It Home Because God Totally Rocks

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My New Favorite Romantic Movie!

Thanks to everyone who sent sweet notes about Clark. His funeral will be this Saturday out in Cali. Our pastor and Clark's brother's roommate are flying out there tomorrow. It is expected that the turnout will be massive. I always think that is such a wonderful testimony to how much that person touched this world. God is good and I know he will bless that gathering.

And in a very unnatural and awkward segue... I am in LOVE with a romantic movie. In LOVE, I tell yah!

I have always loved the 1944 version of Jane Eyre with a young Orson Wells and an impossibly lovely Joan Fontaine. But - having been a math/science dork with a reading block - I never read the book. And therefore never understood the layers of pain that brought Jane to Thornfield Hall. They hint at sadness and abuse but nothing like that of which Ms. Bronte wrote. No sirree Bob!

So in my quest to dig into the whole period piece romantic drama, I began with movies based on Ms. Austen's stories. And still have many of them on my NetFlix queue. But I broke it up with a version of Jane Eyre. It's another one of those amazing love stories that really is bad stuff for us single, recently divorced chicks to watch. And yet, watch I do.

I selected the 2006 Masterpiece Theater (pronounced in my head as "thee-tah") version of Jane Eyre. It's two discs and I'm cheap so I get one at a time. As I write this, I am fully in love with the first disc and am DYING until the second gets here. Ok, dying is a bit dramatic. But I can't wait and am giddy like a moon-eyed school girl with anticipation! [Note to self: Get out more.]

First off, the story starts when Jane is a bit of a girl. So again, thank you British story tellers for actually giving us all the back story which totally makes the rest of it all make SENSE. And the young Jane is brilliantly played by Georgie Henley (most recently Lucy in the wonderful Chronic-WHAT-cles of Narnia).

And then the movie cuts to the actress who plays the adult Jane and I am a complete sucker. Because she LOOKS like she could be the younger actress all grown up. I'm a sucker for actors that actually LOOK alike when the story needs them to. In this case, the adult actress acts the role out of the park. Grown up Jane is beautifully played by Ruth Wilson - with whom, I admit, I am unfamiliar. But she's just the right amount of gorgeous but "not quite a true beauty" as one character cruelly observes.

Now Mr. Rochester, here is a tough casting call in my opinion. He needs to be handsome enough but not too much so. And he needs to be strong, brooding and on the edge of mean. But in a sympathetic way. Yah, is that asking so much? Well, whoever the casting director was on this did a great job in my book. Toby Stephens gallops into screen and I am all excited because I've only ever seen this actor as a bad guy in a Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie. So here he is, all strong, brooding and on the edge of mean.

Let me tell you, the friendship built between Jane and Mr. Rochester is completely believable. And it's so real, it makes me think I want to relate to men like Jane does. With complete honesty and no hidden agenda. As the respect builds and begins to change to something more, it is palpable and made me root for them, even knowing the ending. Oh it's just genius!

I love it love it love it. I cannot WAIT for disc two to get here. And I think this will go on my Christmas list for 2009. I could watch this over and over and over.

So there's my new favorite romantic movie. For now.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Goodbye For Now, Clark

Today, one of our extended church family passed from this life into the next. I know that I should be happy for him. Clark isn't suffering in pain any more. He finally gets to meet Jesus face to face. We all know he's in a better place. And though I believe all of that with all my heart, it still just makes me sad. Sad that a 16 year old should have to die. I only met Clark a couple of times. He's the youngest brother of two of our church members. They're all such a great family. His older brother and sister are two of the finest people I know.

Anyway, a lot of you were praying for Clark and I thank you. His family sent a message to our pastors thanking everyone for their prayers. Clark's family believes he is with God and knows they will see him again when we're all there together. But the human reality is that they will miss him terribly until that happens. Your continued prayers for their family would be appreciated.

I just wanted to share a picture of Clark here. He is a wonderful kid. I have no doubt heaven is loving having him there.